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Publisher's Summary

Here is the story of two families, branches of the Solomons, transported to an alien land. Both branches eventually grow rich and powerful. But through three generations, the families never, for one moment, relinquish their hatred for each other. This novel is also the story of Australia, from its beginnings to its coming of age as a nation.
©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Humphrey Bower doesn't miss a nuance. His villains have a sharp, nasal nastiness, and his love scenes tickle the hairs at the nape of the neck. Bower's performance is spot-on." (Audiofile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 2 Stars
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    31

Performance

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    270
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    59
  • 2 Stars
    8
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    11

Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • Tapping, Australia
  • 01-29-13

Let Down a Little

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes- If they have read the previous 2 books "The Potato Factory" & "Tommo & Hawk" this is essential to round out the story

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

It was good to see how the Solomon dynasty ended however i felt it was a bit clipped and rushed

What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Humphrey's narration was excellent he is by far one of my favorites. Throughout the trilogy his narration rarely waivered and the characters were easily identifiable.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The ending was terrible for me and made me feel like it had all been for nothing, this may have been the point, however i would have been just as happy if Bryce has taken some licence

Any additional comments?

The Potato Factory and Tommo & Hawk were great. I did feel coming to the last third of this book like the writer had got bored of his own story and rushed the ending to finish it. In my view i would still recommend the trilogy as a whole and Solomons song as rounding out the first two books

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Entertainment

Would you listen to Solomon's Song again? Why?

yes, It is filled with adventure, sadness, hope, love, and all the follies of human existence. You become involved with the characters and either love or hate them.

What did you like best about this story?

It moved at a natural pace and kept my attention

Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

Ike

Who was the most memorable character of Solomon's Song and why?

Ike, You have to have an opinion about him. The things he does take bravery, but he is cowardly and at times kind.

Any additional comments?

Just listen or read it, it won't take long to get involved with all of these people.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Call me a hopeless romantic

I think that the reader deserved a better ending than what was given. The trilogy of books were entertaining, interesting, motivational and informative. The books flowed beautifully but unfortunately I think the the reader is robbed by the ending of this book. It was out off character for Ben to behave in the way that he did and so too for Joshua for that matter. One can't paint characters to be strong and intelligent and then make them act like absolute morons. It just left a bitter taste in my mouth. I could have thought of at least 5 better endings which would not take away from the readers perception or intelligence. Anyways, having said my piece I will still highly recommend this book and the two previous as they are amazingly written. Bravo, Bryce Courtenay and thank you for putting pen to paper.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Didn't Want it to End

Solomon's Song, the third and final installment in the Australian Trilogy, tore my heart and had me in tears on a number of occasions.

The novel spans time from the late 19th century through to World War I.

Hawk is the unsung hero and the glue which holds the story and the entire family together. The biggest tragedy is that Hawk remains alone following the death of his beloved Maggie. Hawk becomes a surrogate father to Tommo's daughter, and helps raise her with Mary. Unfortunately, if Hawk has a fault, it's that he feels too much and is blinded by emotion.

Some of his decisions are questionable, and result in more difficulty. A case in point is his decision about how to deal with the other branch of Ikey Solomon's family as a way of atoning for having stolen the contents of Ikey and Hannah's safe without having passed any of it on to Hannah and David.

This book contains more description of the other half of the Solomon family. The entire branch of the family is tainted. Hannah was odious, and none of her offspring are any better. David Solomon is thoroughly nasty and unlikeable, and it's unfortunate that he didn't come to a nastier death about 40 years earlier. His son Abraham is less morally repugnant, but he is weak-willed and spineless and ultimately agrees with the decisions made by his irascible and nasty father. Abraham's son Joshua is merely a pawn of David's and he is also morally weak and repulsive. I wanted to slap him. In fact, I still do.

There is finally some interweaving of the two branches of the family and their fortunes. The Tommo / Hawk / Mary branch of the family is rounded out by Tommo's half-Maori daughter, Hinetitama, and her family.

Hinetitama unfortunately suffers from the same demons as Tommo, and all hope for her is lost when Mary stupidly arranges for Slabbert Tikkelman, Hinetitama's Dutch lover, abuser and enabler, to come to Hobart to marry HInetitama and work at the Potato Factory. Slabbert Tikkelman has no redeeming features, and it's unfortunate that he wasn't killed off earlier in the book. The ultimate downfall and degradation of Hinetitama is terribly sad and appalling. Bower's narration of Hinetitama in the hospice in her 50s when she is reunited with Hawk is superb. It's a complete tear-jerker. What a terrible waste of a life.

Hinetitama's children, Ben and Victoria, grow up under Hawk's care and are poised to take over the family business, but Ben is called away to war.

Many reviewers have criticized Solomon's Song as a piece of anti-war propaganda, but that's not a fair criticism. The horrors of trench war are brought to life with Courtenay's usual brilliant research and writing. But the focus is on more than just Gallipoli. The tedium and terror of training and travel are set out, as well as the futility of the landing at Gallipoli. Ben becomes a great leader on the front lines, and is wounded. He convalesces and recovers in London, becomes betrothed to his shipboard nurse, and then heads out to fight in the front lines of France. Meanwhile, the evil David has pulled strings so that Joshua is coccooned and protected from any hard duty. Joshua eventually feels shamed by the fact that he is sitting comfortably working in an administrative position, and gets himself sent out to fight on active duty in France.

Not surprisingly, the fates of Ben and Joshua are intertwined. As with Hawk, as soon as there is hope and light and laughter for Ben, it is snatched away by cruel fate. Joshua survives but is left with the curse of madness brought on by the war.Yes, the book ends suddenly, but not surprisingly.

There is just so much in this series to love. It's brilliant. It's also brilliantly narrated.

I will go back and listen from the very beginning, in order to catch all the references which I may have glossed over on first listen.

Solomon's Song is ultimately unsatisfying in that I wanted the series to continue, but all good things must come to an end.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • jolee
  • Mooresville, IN, United States
  • 12-20-12

Too much repetition!

I couldn't wait to start Book 3 and, although I'm not half way through it yet, I feel cheated. There is so much time spent repeating the story line from Books 1 and 2 that I feel bored. Let people read the first two books if the story won't be cohesive without that knowledge. Don't make me spend my time and money on a repeat. Disappointed....

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ann
  • Brunswick, Australia
  • 12-12-12

An engrossing read.

This book captured me from the start. Only later did I realise it was the third book in the series. It didnt matter because it was a story in its own right.

Humphrey Bower is a great narrator. I never get sick of his voice, and he brings the story alive.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great read

If you could sum up Solomon's Song in three words, what would they be?

a great ending

What was one of the most memorable moments of Solomon's Song?

David not getting his own way

Which scene was your favorite?

Hawk confronting David

If you could take any character from Solomon's Song out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Hawk

Any additional comments?

A really great read. A great ending to a long runjning saga

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cynthia
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • 11-12-12

Fantastic book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book because its keeps you wanting more.

What other book might you compare Solomon's Song to and why?

Any of Bruce Courtenays book

Any additional comments?

All Bruce!s books are well worth listening to.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

That's it??

45 hours of listening to the trilogy with all of the ups and downs along the way to end so abruptly. It felt like the author ran out of ideas for these people and just ended the book. I don't get it. After 45 hours of following the lives in these books, it seems like a really mean joke to end the way it did. I don't think i'll be listening to anymore Bryce Courtenay books for a while. Mr Courtenay, I'm mad at you!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bryce Courtney---a literary giant

What did you love best about Solomon's Song?

The story line is so revealing about human nature and what motivates us in our daily actions. His writing subtly reminds us of our human weaknesses and our strengths, and yet, he gives us a reason to have hope. And the narration absolutely makes it come alive. Love listening to Bower---one of the best I've heard.

What other book might you compare Solomon's Song to and why?

You must read the entire trilogy starting with the Potato Factory---that makes the characters much more alive and the motivations better understood. Overall I've read all of the Michener books and would put Courtney close to his level of accomplishment.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Excellent as all the others have been. He adds so much in the manner which he presents the characters.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Hawk would take the longer view and do the right things for the future benefit of his family and friends knowing that he would be criticized personally. That's such an uncommon characteristic in society---doing the right thing at personal cost.

Any additional comments?

I haven't read any of this---perhaps it might not be as good in the read as the listen. I will say that Bower has to add to the story in a significant manner.